Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quick Tips for you to Save money!

Travis Ace

Too often, we think about ways to make more money to help whatever financial situation we are in. While this action of raising your take home pay with a raise, bonus, side work or whatever will help cash flow, there is another action that is easier to control, that is cutting your expenses. Cut your top tier cable/satelite package and stream your favorite shows instead, make your favorite meal at home instead of going out, plan errand trips together to save on back and forth gas.

Unlike most income sources, where we don't have control over when they occur, expenses come all too often. Look at bank statements to see where you spend the most and start cutting things you can afford to live without or less frequently.

Even fast food deals that seem like deals can be made cheaper from scratch!!

Mint.com: A Personal Finance Tool


We all have lots of bank accounts, credit cards, IRA's, 401k's, mortgages, car payments. Because we don't see all of these accounts together, it takes a lot of work to get a full understanding of our personal financial picture. We can create our own spreadsheets to track balances, develop budgets and then use our receipts to label expenses and we can set reminders for bill payments but we have to do this on separate platforms and independent of one another.

Mint.com is a great free tool that organizes, categorizes and presents your financial situation on one website. Here is how it works; you simply add all of your online account information for each financial account you have. It will present your ever changing net wealth, track all of your transactions, let you customize a budget and see if you are meeting your goals. Mint.com is a free service because it looks at how other companies can save you money by offering lower interest credit cards or low fee IRA's.

Mint.com also features customized Goals, tracking expenses over time like "food", bill reminders and tracking the performance of your investments compared to the market. There is also a community blog on personal finance tips from Mint.com users.

I have heard from many people that they don't think this is safe to have all of your financial account log ins and passwords saved with one site. However, you are not able to execute transactions on Mint. Rather, you can just see transactions. Also, Mint has been recommended by "The Wall Street Journal", "New York Times" and "Money" Magazine for safety, security and personal finance tools. It is scanned for viruses and hackers daily using McAfee. Here is more on how they keep users safe : Mint.com/SafetyPolicy

I have used the service for 2 years and I don't know how I lived without it. It has helped me save money by finding online banks that offer the best interest rates, cut down on expenses when I am over budget and helped me figure out my retirement goals. They also have a free mobile app to keep track of finances on the go.

Check it out for yourself at Mint.com

Retirement Saving

Travis Ace

Saving for retirement makes a lot of people nervous. It brings up a lot of questions that we don't know the answer to. How much do I need to save? When can I formally retire? What's the best way to grow my assets without risking my nest egg? What percentage of bonds, stocks and cash should I have at my age?

While all of these are valid questions that we may never know, there are things we can control to help ease the stress and uncertainty of retirement. Here are a couple ways to tackle this:

1. Find a retirement calculator and play with how much you put away per year, average rate of return, when you plan to retire and how much income you think you will need. While this may not create the "magic number" so many experts talk about, it does highlight how your annual contributions add up and a goal to start with. It may be best to visit multiple sites to see how this can vary.

2. Don't just file away your investment statements for your 401k or other financial accounts. Find the rate of return and fees you pay. If you are not satisfied with the performance, it may be time to find lower fee alternatives or time to reallocate your assets.

3. The best thing you can do is save as much as possible. This is the one item you can control and it should be the focus for all investors. Live below your means, cut back on expenses and put more away if you want to retire early and enjoy your time after your career.

Here is a link for a couple retirement calculators:
AARP's Site